Mariah Carey Banking Almost $18 Million on ‘American Idol’

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Mariah Carey is about to get $18 Million richer after signing on to be the newest judge on American Idol. Her Idol deal comes in at just under $18 million with an option to renew next season. “Her deal is rumored to be just under $18 million for one year with an option to renew,” a source familiar with the negotiation tells PEOPLE. Jennifer Lopez did make $20 million but that was in her second year and it included incentives. Carey will be highest paid judge currently on any singing competition show. Now will Idol be able to afford another judge…?

Even Simon Cowell had something to say about Carey’s new gig (if you remember he was courting her for The X Factor). “I think she’s going to find it difficult to say ‘no’ [to contestants]. She’s sweet.” Cowell then gamely added: “I think she’s going to be great.”

Photo from FOX

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